My paras are trying out some Linux distributions because I have a machine that has effectively locked us out of XP. My friendly IT person, Mr. Khan, hasn’t had a chance to remedy this so I’m using various live CDs to see how some nontechnical folks react to Linux on the desktop.
Their first exposure was Puppy Linux which was adequate but certainly didn’t impress any of them in any way compared to their experiences with Windows. These are people that simply want their machines to work. Their patience and time is limited so they are not going to waste time tweaking. And you can forget about command lines. It isn’t happening.
I asked Coach today what he was looking for in a computer, since they are officially searching for new one. His wife is more computer literate than him, but he said he wanted a machine that could play music, watch DVD movies, handle pictures, play some games, do email and surf the internet. He and his wife do online banking and online shopping and might consider doing their taxes using a computer program.
Is there Linux tax software?
They’ve been using Mepis for a week, so I thought I’d get some feedback and pass it along.
All 3 paras preferred Mepis over Puppy Linux. However each has experienced some frustration with some aspect of Mepis. Patience was unhappy because I hadn’t configured the printer so it didn’t want to print. Once I got the printer working, she was happy. She’s a bit of a Mahjong junkie so it didn’t take her long to find that in the games folder.
Queen is the least comfortable with it, as she is simply not used to the new icons and desktop. She definitely prefers XP over Mepis. She’s been out for a few days so has the least experience with it and the least feedback to offer.
Coach was the most happy with it, as he really loved having some new games to play around with. It took him awhile to understand and navigate the menu but once he did he explored around a bit and found what he wanted. His main issue was not being able to use the CD drive to play a music CD because the drive was occupied by the Mepis CD.
Since none of them have flash or key drives, the whole mounting/unmounting thing hasn’t come up and won’t likely unless I install one of these distros. I’m sort of waiting for the Dreamlinux CD to arrive before I change the system again. If it’s not here by Monday, I may give Ubuntu a whirl.
All-in-all, Mepis has held up well in live CD mode for day-to-day use by my 3 para educators. I occasionally have to show them how to do something, but once I show one, they share with each other. The printing issue came up this morning and was the first time in a few days where I had to sit in front of it to get it to work. Otherwise it has worked surprisingly well.